Southwark Playhouse
13th May to 18th June 2022

“Gartland Productions and producer Chris Maguire are pleased to annouce LIFT, which began previews at Southwark Playhouse last Friday 13th May 2022.

Leading the company, X Factor finalist Luke Friend He/Him (Footloose, American Idiot) will play the role of Busker. He will be joined by West End star Hiba Elchikhe She/Her (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Fiver), playing the role of Secretary.

Direct from Westerburg High School, Kayleigh McKnight She/Her (Heathers, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical) will play the role of the French teacher. Also returning to Southwark Playhouse, Jordan Broatch They/Them (Anyone Can Whistle) will play the role of Avatar, with Marco Titus He/Him (Mandela- A New Musical) playing the role of BYT.

Making their professional debut Cameron Collins He/Him will play the Ballet Dancer, Tamara Morgan She/Her will play the role of the Lap Dancer and Chrissie Bhima She/Her will play the role of Avatar.

Directed by Dean Johnson He/Him (Godspell, BKLYN, Dogfight) with Musical Direction and new arrangements by Sam Young He/They (White Christmas, The Man in the Ceiling) and Choreography by Annie Southall She/Her (The Jungle Book, The Boyfriend), this brand-new production of LIFT, music and lyrics by Craig Adams and book by Ian Watson, will run at Southwark Playhouse until Saturday 18th June 2022.

Developed by Perfect Pitch, LIFT is set in a London underground lift, in one man’s imagination, on its way to the surface during one minute. In the 54 seconds of the lift’s passage, we are taken on a much greater journey that reveals the people behind the masks they wear, the secrets they dare not speak, and the unrealised connections between them.

The creative team will include Andrew Exeter He/Him as production designer (High Fidelity, Hair in Concert, Jon + Jen), Associate Designer by Natalia Alvarez She/Her, Assistant Direction by Eden Howes She/Her and casting by Pearson Casting.

Tickets are available now via Southwark Playhouse website.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 2 Stars

Unfortunately I didn’t understand this musical. It started as a 5 Star because it looked amazing and for the 1st time ever at Southwark Playhouse the band didn’t drown out the actors and the sound was fine.

But then…….

I have no idea what it was all about. A complete mish-mash of book. With an accomplished actor playing a guitar, creeping around and distracting every scene. Then he lost the guitar, and then it was back.

I’m the wrong generation to understand the “woke”. If I’m going to have a coffee and become your friend I’m very happy to learn that you’d prefer to be non-binary or “they/them” but if I’m watching a show I don’t want to see your daytime ring nose, take it out and play the role, not yourself! I expect a character playing a ballet dancer to know how to point an extended leg and turn out their foot – if you can’t act that role then don’t play that role. I don’t need to see a carpenter playing Joseph in the Nativity play – I want to see an actor who portrays that role. I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, it’s “acting”.

I found the entire evening confusing!

But to look for the positives:

1) the Set Design was amazing! It worked for this show and deserves full credit.
2) the Lighting was brilliant! Loved it!
3) the Sound was grand!
4) the orchestra and Musical Direction, spot on!
5) the cast who looked like females (sorry if any of them prefer to be referred to as non-binary) were truly fantastic! Stand out performer was Tamara Morgan!

but the elephant in the room was the direction and the lead playing a guitar. The lead was a great performer but his character just upstaged so many scenes…….I’m sorry but I just didn’t get this at all!

(Photo credit: Mark Senior)

LIFT – Southwark Playhouse, London.

Music and Lyrics by Craig Adams
Book by Ian Watson
Developed by Perfect Pitch

Friday 13th May – Saturday 18th June 2022
Previews: Frida

and here come the cast with their pronouns (already listed in header):

Busker – Luke Friend He/Him
Secretary – Hiba Elchikhe She/Her
French Teacher – Kayleigh McKnight She/Her
Ballet Dancer – Cameron Collins He/Him
Lap Dancer – Tamara Morgan She/Her
BYT – Marco Titus He / Him
Avatar – Chrissie Bhima She/Her
Avatar – Jordan Broatch They/Them
Director – Dean Johnson He/Him
Assistant Director – Eden Howes She/Her
Musical Director – Sam Young He/They
Choreography – Annie Southall She/Her
Production Design – Andrew Exeter He/Him
Associate Designer – Natalia Alvarez She/Her
Casting – Pearson Casting